Gyruff (Grand Duchy of Geoff)

Journey through the land of Fey - Astra's Diary

Dear Diary,
For several days we had been preparing to travel to the land of the fey to gather secret information about various tears (Tear of Correylwn, Tear of the Land, etc.) which we could give to the Oytwood Elves to establish peace, the whereabouts of Queen Aisling’s heart, and why the soul of the Storm King was so important to a certain fey queen. All, or at least I think all questions were answered, but it was quite a ride to get there.

Around lunch time we had set off to find a fey circle, deciding to head over to Garrien’s field where there is a ring of stone.. Looking up and low for clues, we eventually found a circle of mushrooms that Mazer’s pixie friend Rivergem confirmed was a fairy ring, and the material we needed to pass through it was bloodied teeth. Fortunately, we were able to get the teeth from some small game that Yahnny caught and killed, and we had come back at midnight, as that was when the ring would open. Once we got there we encountered eerie tooth fairies who were singing and dancing like the little creepsters they are. For a brief second however I, and many others, found this song enchanting and started to dance, Raylinn enjoying it so much he took his clothes off. All of us managed to get a hold of our senses before anything really bad happened except for Gweezer, who wasn’t phased and was beginning to take on a appearance similar to the fey themselves until surprisingly, Mazer was able to intimidate the tooth fey to free him.

After all of that, we finally got into the land of the Fey, arriving on a crossroad. Our first destination was the blood forest where the mysterious Baba Yaga lurked. We managed to find her cottage after viewing some oddly fashioned scarecrows lurking in the forest, and than after convincing the talking skulls surrounding her cottage to let us in, and rehearsing a secret password, we entered the house where we encountered the witch. Mazer introduced us and played a lovely little tune, which was so beautiful to the Baba Yaga that she invited him in to play for her daughter. Mazer happily reciprocated and must’ve really enjoyed entertaining her daughter, because we had to wait for him to come out for an hour and a half.

When Mazer came back to us, he fortunately got some answers, well pseudo-answers, but at least we got something. From what the Baba Yaga told him we first had to catch a golden fish and wished for the location of the heart of Queen Aisling.. Seeming easy enough, we went to the nearest water-source and with luck I had spotted the fish. After chasing it I grabbed it with my magical hand while Bothan, who somehow caught up to me, grabbed it with his hand. Bothan’s eyes then went wide with horror as he shouted for help as he saw a kraken underneath it, but remembering the mission, he asked our wish. Unfortunately, the kraken (not really a kraken actually) had to be defeated before we could get it, so we managed to do just that, with Bothan and Yahnny being the only ones to take serious injury. After healing the beast, the kraken told us where to go next, a windmill, and give the girl that lives there a golden apple which he then proceeded to throw up. The kraken then implied it could grant other wishes but Bothan thought something was fishy about that premise and insisted we leave.

After going back to the crossroads and managing to find this windmill, we went up to it and encountered the young girl. Yahnny offered her the apple, to which she delightfully took a bite of before falling to the ground dead. Mazer attempted to investigate with his magical goggles but got stunned, and thinking it was just the goggles that did it I attempted to investigate with my wand, only to also get stunned. Yahnny then attempted to dig the little girl’s heart out with his dagger, with the belief among the party believing that this girl’s heart must have a connection to this, but as soon as Yahnny did this, the child transformed into a heart and absorbed Yahnny into a blinding flash of light. When the dust settled, Yahnny, now the new Queen Aisling, appeared. Yahnny was perplexed by his new body for a few minutes but was slowly becoming more and more like Queen Aisling. After Dasut gave a heartwarming send off to his former apprentice and took his magical items, the new Queen Aisling teleported us to our next destination while giving us back Prince Rhys.

Now at our next destination, a collection of falls in the Oytwood, Raylinn found a mysterious sea women who gave him a gem that is apparently the soul of the Storm King, which Raylinn and us must protect from an entity known as the Hollow Prince, who a certain Fey Queen of the Winter sent, as she wants the soul of the Storm King in order to fuse with the Storm King’s undying body, probably for something like world domination. Raylinn was about to ask more questions before Mazer accidentally scared the women off. After this, Raylinn somehow lost his connection to his familiar that allowed him to see and hear, and had a hard time communicating to us after that. Finally, and with our answers solved (except for one that involves the moon’s reflection, but Mazer implied he could take care of that), Mazer teleported us back to Hochcoch.

All in all, it was a thrilling time. Apparently what we did didn’t really matter since our new Commandment wants to pacify the elves and doesn’t give an ounce of care about peace. But we did accumulate some knowledge, which is always, always useful. Hopefully the Prince gets better too, he was not doing so hot after he was freed.

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Astra's Notes - The Obdisian Mirror of "Big-T"

These notes have been written with both the owner’s manual and both personal and external witnesses I have gathered over several months

The Obsidian Mirror of “Big-T” is an abnormal artifact that emits high levels of negative and chaotic energies. While showing no significant signs of sentience, the mirror eerily acts like such, “haunting” individuals that it attunes to and teleporting to wherever they may be, reportedly making sounds that suggest it can speak.
Additionally, multiple variants of the mirror exist, up to four have been discovered as of the time I write this, with all of them being identical to each other.

The first Obsidian Mirror was uncovered in the Earth Temple wrapped in a heavy cloth. It began to reveal images to a group of adventurers who owned it until it started to haunt them, first the monk Dasut followed by Princess Jagr. This would lead even into Jagr’s eventual ascension into royalty and the mirror would continue to bring a slight nuisance to them, although it did help her, the prince, myself and a warrior escape from the Abyss. Since then, more mirrors have been found and haunted individuals such as Priestess Gwelyn.

Properties
- Mirror Dimension: The mirror hosts a pocket dimension of seemingly infinite mirrors, theoretically spanning across all of space and time. It is unknown if each mirror represents an Obsidian Mirror or each mirror represents all mirrors in the universe, and if it were to be the latter, it would explain how it can teleport, as evidently it only shows up through reflective surfaces. In the mirror dimension, some mirrors are solid and static while others act more like a liquid, producing ripples. An unknown amount of them act like portals, where it is likely where the mirror duplicates travel through.
Mirror duplicates are identical to the material version of a person except that the duplicate is hostile towards its “original” counterpart. Mirror duplicates also “bleed” crystals, and when they die they disappear in a cloud of shards.
- Shadow Dimension: The mirror is somehow connected to the shadow dimension and can transport shadow versions of material people into the material plane. This was notably done in mass by three hags who had been replacing the entire population of Newbridge with shadow people, which was partially stopped by yours truly.
Shadow duplicates act basically the same as mirror duplicates
- Scrying: The mirror is capable of scrying into different places, different times, and potentially alternate realities as of several different variants of Crystal balls. The act of doing so comes with the risk of going partially insane (although this applies with all of its effects)
- Possession: According to the Owner’s Manual, it can summon a ghost to possess someone who looks into the mirror. This may or may not have happened before.
- Image alteration: Several of the mirror’s effects include altering its reflection of the environment, including transforming the viewers reflection into a demon or undead. One effect erases all others from the reflection except the onlooker, and another replaces the viewer with a child.
- Truesight: The Mirror is capable of giving the viewer true sight, one of the more beneficial effects

What to do when you come across an Obsidian Mirror
Above all else, always proceed with caution.
- Do not touch the mirror unless you cover the silk substance, and do not impulsive look into it. It is possible to increase your chances of receiving a beneficial effect from the mirror if you perform a ritual.
- Do not to attempt to read its “mind”, less you inevitably go insane.

- Astra Nebula

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GNG20-01 Final Fhar'anod
Aoth Mission Report

Baroness Knight Commander Waiting Raven Watcher Tallia Neholin-Raxxam leading the 68th Raven Medium Cavalry:

I am pleased to present you with a Mission Briefing from an exciting and eventful mission into Fhar’anod.

First, I am making you aware that I am sending message to our allies in Hochoch regarding the exact whereabouts of an Orb of Destruction (programmed to cause a Tidal wave that will flood Hochoch). It can be contained within a metal box. I have sent the details of such containment to Hochoch directly so as to avert a disaster.

Next, let me thank our troops and fellow mission experts who did a fantastic job I both accomplishing the goals of the mission and in saving me from an eternity in a magical mirror. I must reveal that the version of Aoth you have seen in the last 3 months (or so?) has not been the real Aoth. I was captured in an evil mirror and a mirror version of myself was released onto the world with my memories and a very distinct motivation to encourage the worship of the Evil God “Big T.” I was trapped in the mirror with Railyn, who we also were able to save. I have learned great intelligence as a result of my experience in the mirror.

Your suspicions about me were absolutely correct, but I had no way to communicate with you about the imposter. Prior to your interrogation of the mirror version of me, He had made contact and become an ally with the Water cult (a strong supporter of T, as all of the elemental cults are). They have taken my Squire Sneaky Pete and are charming him daily to get him to support their cause. We must go after the water cult and save Sneaky Pete. The last I knew, he was on a longboat, not the water temple. Attached is more information on “big T” and the Water cult, including the creatures in their cult and a map of the temple itself.

I think we can use the fact that the water cult thinks I am an ally to gain advantage on them in the future, and get Sneaky Pete back!! They do not know that the version they befriended is not me, but I am alike in every way (but alignment).

I have also learned that Zilziver has been affected by an “eye” of sorts in that what he sees may be visible to “Big T” himself. I think we need to remove curse or do something similar to prevent the revelation of our secrets. He has been a very valuable Knight in our efforts, always incredibly loyal, and he must be preserved (made pure).

OK – now that those important announcements have been made, here is the official Mission Report from GNG20-01:

Before this can happen, a squad from the 68th Raven Medium Cavalry will be sent to:
1. Scout out Fhar’anod in advance of the army to determine what resistance, if any, may exist above or below ground.
• Special Hazards: Reported above ground two months ago was a Red Dragon (and/or efreeti) & Balrog team slaughtering Lizardfolk & dinosaurs. Below ground was a White Illithid and more powerful than average Minotaur slaughtering Lizardfolk. Unknown if they are still in the area, whether they have a Light of Lydia, and/or one/both parties may have absorbed a Spark of Divinity. A Dragon Turtle named Bronze Flume was contacted by Baronet Knight Captain Wildly Incinerating Grey Wolf Dispatcher Mazer Raxxam via sending and replied very strangely…may be under the effects of a charm spell. Dispel Magic may or may not be able to break the charm. Bronze Flume can be reasoned with normally (he likes food and treasure bribes) and may inadvertently be at Fhar’anod to meet with Buddy Mazer…as my husband explained it.
• Inform KBW Magnus Therestell via sending (or other magical means) of expected resistance and that the 68th Raven is initiating Objective #2 w/ an estimated timeline.

2. Undermine the Ziggurat then flood the lower levels of Fhar’anod. Protect the digging crew as they do their job!
• Special Equipment: A recently acquired Gnomish Steam Works Drill (GSWD) and any special abilities of the group will plan the best way to undermine the ziggurat and divert the water of the Rushmoors to flood Fhar’anod.

3. Flush out anyone/anything in/under Fhar’anod including the ziggurat. Determine the threat level of anyone/anything exiting and take appropriate action as determined by the Squad Leader.

4. KBW Magnus Therestell and his army can crush the final opposition and will detail a company to hold it.

Command: Baronet Knight Captain Vicious Black Mink Aoth will be in command. Baronet Knight Captain Vigil Zilziver Za’Buume will be his second in command.

Mission Report Outline:
• What mission objective numbers listed above were successful?
o Objective 1 – SUCCESS. Disguised as a Quetzocoatlus in the skies above, the only possible resistance noted was what looked like a very small Triceratops atop the Zigurat. This turned out to be a kind druid who saved our lives, bringing us from the astral plane back to the material plane after an incredible attack by a Black Dragon (Blackotrixix?). There was also an overturned fishing ship in the waters just outside of the wall surrounding Fhar’anod. When this was examined, two of our party became enslaved by Aboleths which makes them charmed. They had a telepathic link to the aboleths and were to obey their commands. The affects of the aboleths were not immediately evident, but they were removed by spell casters after we completed the mission. Under the water was also found a metal box. Upon opening the box, a mirror was revealed. Although Evendur (after looking into the mirror) got to the surface and walked away, the mirror kept appearing 10-30 feet behind him and continued to do so for the rest of the session.

Inside the Zigurat, we saw many dead Lizard folk, then came upon two humans, Balder and Harry. Harry is mute and appears to be a spell caster. Balder is a druid and can shape change. They were not hostile toward us. After going through the Zigurat, in the tunnels beneath, we encountered the black dragon (Blackotrixis) (initially presented as a female human). She did an acid breath attack that did a lot of damage to most of us; however, upon hitting the mirror, we were sent to the Astral plane. Some were able to sleep prior to the attack, but some were not so lucky. Luckily, the Druid was able to planar shift us back to just outside the Zigurat.

It was after we appeared outside the Zigurat that three companies of the KOW arrived and the mirror version of me was forced into the mirror, which immediately allowed me to come out of it. I had been in there with Railyn, so I knew how to get her out. We later accosted the mirror version of her in her sleep WITH THE MIRROR and freed her. The mirror can not be destroyed. It can be contained in a box and buried, but no-one should look into the mirror or run the risk of being followed by the mirror, even if the mirror is sequestered.

After this activity, we proceeded with objective number 2 and undermined the Ziggurat and flooded the entire thing. After the water filled the underground city, Yuan-ti were streaming out and running away. Additionally, we noted previous Knight Commander Gardensnake, who we thought had sacrificed himself in a previous adventure to allow the rest of us to escape, ran away. We were unable to catch up to him to question him. So, we believe all others have been flushed from this area.
• Provide a brief explanation on how you completed each objective:
o Above
• What mission objective numbers listed above were not successful? Why?
o [NA]
• If not successful, what would have helped?
o [NA]
• What new intel can you provide? e.g. defenders type, quality and quantity, maps, new information, etc.
o [See above and attached]
• Any unit personnel exceed expectations and conduct themselves bravely and honorably? Who and explain their performance?
o [My good friend Dandelion came up with a great plan to free me from the mirror. I owe my life and the safety of our Kingdom to him.]
• Any unit personnel with discipline problems or negatively impacted the mission? Who and explain their issues?
o [Reply]
• Treasure: Almost all items obtained are your spoils for a successful mission, I have no problem with that. Items obtained of Rare, Very Rare, Wondrous, and/or Legendary status I would like officially disclosed. What item(s) and who the owner is?
o [We recovered a fishing keelboat worth 3000gp]
Note: This is for planning future missions only…where someone or something could help make an impact for a successful result.
• Other? Anything that could help a future 68th Raven Cavalry unit going in?
o [Reply]

Respectfully submitted,

Baronet Knight Captain Vicious Black Mink Aoth

OOC: please forward this on to other Knights or party members I may have missed.

GNG20-01RiverguardKeep__Water_Temple.pdf

Tharizdun__Dungeons_and_Dragons_Wiki__Fandom.pdf

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Last of the Lizardfolk
Life and Times of Dandelion the Bard

Last of the Lizards…except for that really big red one!

The action around here is thick and getting thicker.

Rumor was Karackus and his army had a major battle with the newly revealed Fire Temple (after earth, air, and water temples…we weren’t surprised). The Knights took advantage to go in and see if they could take out Karackus, and were apparently successful with Knight Commander Hollister Paen striking the killing blow.

Though he lost the many of the people with him, he managed to get away and make it back to civilization.

Honestly, we are not even sure he knew what it meant to strike down Karackus – that evil lizard apparently had a divine spark in him and whoever kills him would get that spark.

But that wasn’t even the focus of our follow-up mission.

Karackus’ former army, now led by one of his generals (a Slann) was in full retreat back to Far’ohnod. We figured we could take out the general and maybe a few of Karackus’ many children. The idea being that this would end the lizardfolk threat for the foreseeable future.

Well…that part of the mission basically came true, but not much due to our actions.

We learned that the lizardfolk army was being pursued by a massive red dragon and a Balor demon.

With that information we decided that likely the Slann had already returned to the base ahead of the army and that we had a very limited time-frame to search him out.

A short foray into the depths of Far’ohnod resulted in the death of a handful of Karckus’ children and a chase to catch the Flann.

When the Flann disappeared from our detection spell we figured we’d missed him and he’d made his escape from both us and those coming in.

The other thing we found down in the depth was evidence of a Mind Flayer (oddly pale skin) and Minotaur (who has arcane symbols on his horns). While considering an attempt at these two we witnessed the Mind Flayer strike down a lizardfolk and a bright light transfer from the lizardfolk to the Mind Flayer.

After seeing the destruction these two wrought (over 100 lizardfolk deaths including some of the big guards) we decided that perhaps we needed to find a way out.

The Mind Flayer / Minotaur combo below and the Red Dragon / Balor combo coming in from above left us with few options. We decided an underwater escape using water breathing magic was our best bet and made a run for it. Unfortunately, the sharp eyes of the dragon caught us and he gave chase.

The dragon managed to scoop one of the squires out of the water and held him out for the Balor to slay. This had been the method they were using previously with lizardfolk, and I expect looking for the same “spark” that we had seen the Mind Flayer receive (not sure what this is or how many but they were searching hard for it/them).

Fortunately the water made the man slippery and he slipped out of the dragon’s grasp. Though still near both a massive dragon and a Balor demon, he had little chance of escape.

That’s until Knight Commander Hollister Paen rushed out of the water at the Balor. The combat that ensued allowed the squire to escape, but cost KC Hollister his life. KC Hollister gave almost as well as he got, but the end result was rarely in doubt.

I shall write a song honoring Knight Commander Hollister and his brave sacrifice.

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Heart of the Elves

Knight Commander Paent called Uaithne and I to his quarters. There we met Aurora, Bothan, Darielle and Father Lind Moristen. Apparently Eridan had indicated that the Dim Forest elves might be willing to negotiate for peace and we were being sent to find out if this were so. I trust Aurora and Eridan, so I was willing to go along without question. Not so Bothan, I still haven’t decided it that is a good thing or not.

We walked to New Midwood and saw the folks from Bissel moving in. The inhabitants the Knights had found in New Midwood had been drafted and sent to Bissel. We then boarded the River Dream and sailed to Derelion. We passed Hocholve on the way up and found more people from Bissel settling there. Woodcutters were trying to clear the trees around Hocholve and disturbed a dryad. Maybe they will learn to respect some of the Gyri ways before they all die and maybe not.

When we got close to Derelion, people becan acting strangely. Darielle and Father Lind became incapacitatingly drunk, as did most of the crew of the River Dream. Bothan brought Darielle along and we headed for Prince Lachion Stonehouse’s estate. There we met Prince Lachion, his wife Princess Agatha, Darlon Lea and someone whose name I did not catch. Prince Lachion is a fire genasi elf who was part of the Griffon Guard. Prince Lachion sent Darlon Lea to see to the crew of the River Dream while we talked. Aurora then revealed her true purpose in traveling to Derelion. Her father had collected 4 shards or lesser heart stones that had lost their charge. These shards, once charged at the Heart of the Forest, could be placed with a young tree. When that tree grew, it could protect the Forest and strengthen the barrier between the shadow plane and the prime material plane. Prince Lachion agreed that this was a worthy mission and told us that we needed to go to Terran Mortem, his brother’s tomb. He would send Darlon Lea with us as a guide.p.

Bothan still had questions, so we went to the library in Derelion to do some research on the Heart of the Forest. We learned that the Dim, the Oytwood and the Hornwood had all once been one forest. The whispered one had broken the heart stone into three pieces and one is in each of the three forests. Each heart stone needs a bond mate to speak for the heart stone and for mutual protection. The heart stone also wants an elven family to live near it. So where was the heart tree in the Dim and why did we need to go 30 miles away to the tomb. But I figured that Aurora knew things she was not saying, so I did not question. Not so with Bothan.

Bothan decided to ask Darlon Lea about the heart tree and told him of our mission to reimbue the four shards with the force from the heart tree. Apparently the heart tree was in Derelion and Darlon Lea was its bond-mate, as we would soon learn. Darlon Lea than asked Aurora for the 4 shards and asked us to wait for him. Aurora got him to agree to let us follow 120 feet behind. That was to prove to be too far. Darlon Lea went to the Heart Tree in Derelion and opened it. The tree has some dead branches and needs healing. He then charged the first of the shards. Then everything went badly. As Darlon Lea reached for another shard, Prince Lachion appeared behind him and attack, taking Darlon Lea down in one round. Bothan dropped Darielle from his shoulder, rushed forward and taunted Lachion, trying to distract him. Uaithne and I walked forward and fired cold chromatic orbs at Lachion. Aurora healed Darlon, allowing him to regain consciousness. Lachion stated we could witness his accession and that he needed the daughter of the immortal to gain his own immortality. Then Princess Agatha appeared on the other side of Darlon to attack him. Lachion attacked Darlon again, again taking him down, and then moved away. Bothan followed Lachion, but could not attack. Uaithne and I attacked Princess Agatha and Aurora again healed Darlon. Lachion threw a dagger with a ruby in the handle at Darlon Lea, killing him. We watched with horror as Darlon’s Lea’s soul entered the ruby. Agatha picked up the dagger and moved to give it to Lachion. Uaithne and I again attacked Agatha, finally bloodying her. Bothan took the dagger from Agatha and brought her down. Lachion told us he would become the ruler of shadow and fire. He then swallowed the soul gem with Darlon Lea’s soul and used the Spear of the Dim Forest Lord, made from the heartwood tree, to command the tree to attack us. Bothan and Aurora went unconscious from the attacks. Uaithne and I were further away, so we were damaged, but still conscious. Lachion placed a black onyx gem in the pommel of the cold iron dagger and advanced on Aurora. Her mother Arial appeared to protect her. Lachion and Ariel attacked each other, both doing damage. We killed Princess Agatha and she revealed her true form in death, Grandmother Twitchwillow, the night hag from Hochoch and later Newbridge.

Lachion then attacked Ariel, bringing her to unconsciousness. Uaithne gave Bothan his healing potion and I gave Aurora mine, reviving them. Aurora tried taking the charged shard and holding it to the heart tree, but Lachion’s hold on the tree was too strong. Bothan managed to take the dagger from Lachion and give it to Aurora. Aurora separated the gem from the dagger and brought it to my feet. Uaithne then shattered the soul gem and got further from Lachion. I used dimension door to get Aurora and I and the dagger away from Lachion. Lachion attacked Bothan, knocking him unconscious again. Aurora asked Uaithne to kill Ariel to stop Lachion from killing her and gaining her divine spark. Lachion attacked with the tree and I lost consciousness.

I later awoke in Hocholve where a priest had raised Uaithne and me. Bothan and Aurora were waiting to tell us the rest of the tale. Aurora had managed to kill Uaithne before Lachion did, thus receiving her mother’s divine spark. Lachion had transformed into a balrog however. He has a tenuous hold on the heart tree through the spear and through Darlon’s soul. But Aurora had foiled his plan to get Ariel’s divine spark and her Destruction powers. Bothan regained consciousness and brought us all back to the River Dream and thus downstream to Hocholve. He brought Darlon Lea’s body, but Lachion has his soul, so he cannot be raised. Of Ariel’s body there was no trace. Fey bodies dissipate when they are killed on the Prime Material plane. They had also seen over 1000 hob goblins and some giants living in Derelion, unable to move away because of the staffern.

When we are stronger, we will return to Derelion and save the elves there from Prince Lachion. They cannot resist his power alone.

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Bothan Journal Entry CY 619-10
Abject Failure in the Dimwood Forest

What can I record? What should I record? The mission was a total failure. I failed beyond all measure. Half the party dead and another two legendary heroes dead and unrecoverable on top that. I haven’t failed this badly since … Well no reason to hash over old wounds. The new ones are bad enough without thinking about that past fiasco.
The mission was a simple diplomatic one with the Dimwood elves or at least that is what I was told by Knight Commander Glorious Garden Snake Dispatcher Holister Paent. You see Eridan had learned that the Dimwood elves might be willing to negotiate a truce. Not sure what changed Knight Field Marshall Fearless Indomitable Quetzalcoatlus Watcher Boltar Hammerhold’s mind. He didn’t seem to be interested in peace with the elves last time I spoke to him. Aurora, Vigil Darielle, Junior Obedient Master Xilvyre Urthadar , Junior Obedient Master Uaithne ap Dilwyn , Master Sergeant Father Lind Moristen of Norebo and myself were sent to determine if it was safe to travel to Derelion and whether the elves would be willing to negotiate. Seems straightforward right?
A mission that was instigated by the elf, Eridan, his daughter, Aurora, part of the mission to meet with yet other elves, gave me a deep seeded feeling that there was more to it. I have been around tight lipped elves enough to know that they don’t provide the complete story. And I feared that without knowing the complete story our mission was threatened. I hate it when I am right about that type of thing. I was so close to putting the whole thing together. I figured out most of it. But I was missing just one critical piece. With that one piece we might have all made it out alive. Or maybe if I had been totally oblivious to what was happening things might have turned out different. I’ll never know. With that one missing piece we might have outmaneuvered the big baddies and foiled their plans. But no instead it couldn’t have gone any worse. Ok, well to be honest it could have been worse. You see the biggest baddie involved could have also become a deity and gained the powers of the horseman “Destruction”. Instead he just gained the powers and soul of a true hero from the battle with the giants. At least he/it is still mortal.
But I get ahead of the story. Let me start at the beginning of our travels. We traveled aboard the River Dream to New Midwood without incident. I decided to find out what happened to my old employer. Seems he has been sent to Bissel to do his smithing there. Hope they work him to the bone like he did me.
As we traveled up river into the Dimwood we were able to avoid any serious encounters with spiders, darklings or shadows. Although we did see some “Gyri” woodsmen that were trying to reclaim Hocholve as we passed through. I yelled at the idiots that they shouldn’t be cutting the trees. It was only going to piss the elves off and endanger our diplomatic mission to boot. Well it wasn’t the elves who showed up but the fey instead. Seems one of the woodsmen decided to try and cut down a dryad’s tree. The dryad took exception and the woodsmen were massacred. We shook our heads at the hopeless situation and continued onward. We were able to avoid all of the dangers and pulled into Derelion without any encounters.
We met with Prince Lachion Stonehouse and his wife and I learned what the mission was really about. Seems that The Dimwood, the Oytwood and the Hornwood used to be all one large forest. And that within this forest are three old and powerful trees. Well trees make it sound pedestrian. These are not normal trees. These are trees transformed. You see within these trees were placed a piece of original World Tree. These pieces are called the “heartwood”. They provide powerful protection. Aurora told Prince Lachion and the party that her father had been collecting pieces of the heartwood that had lost their powers when some of these transformed trees were destroyed in the “dark times”. He believes that if these pieces were re-instilled with their power we could transform other trees. That the power of these transformed trees could separate the thinness between the shadow plane and the Dimwood and close it off preventing more of those dark denizens from crossing to Oerth. This was the true mission and a most laudable one at that. Closing off the shadow plane would make Oerth a better and safer world.
Prince Lachion was happy to help us. He told us that to achieve our goals we needed to look near an old elven tomb. Our answer would be found near by. He sent the renowned hero Darlon Lea with us. Prince Lachion also mentioned that if we should go into the tomb there were traps. Anyone who entered the tomb with weapons would trigger them. He also said that there was an entrance to the plane of fire within the tomb. I believe that the tomb is likely to have traps and that the plane of fire is accessible there but that he mislead us about the trigger being weapons. Of course I believed Prince Lachion at the time. After all we were on a quest that would help the Dimwood and the elves. We never made it to the tomb to find out if I am right about it. I believe that from this tomb Prince Lachion could call his army of fire elementals and other fire creatures. The histories tell us he came to Derelion with this fiery army and were part of the forces that helped to defeat Hasfornes and the opposing force. So I think he might of wrapped up the lie about the weapons and our finding an existing heartwood tree nearby amidst truths of traps and a fire plane gate in the tomb.
I could feel that there was further information that was being withheld or that I needed to know to achieve this new mission. I got Aurora to confirm that there was a danger. For long ago the “whispered one” had worked on corrupting the heartwood trees. I was worried that if we tried to re-instill the power back in the pieces that Aurora had been given they would also include the corruption. Aurora shared the concerns but balanced it with the possibility of eliminating the shadow planes access. I did not wish us to find the heartwood tree unprepared. Perhaps there was a way to assure that any corruption was not passed on to Aurora’s pieces of heartwood. There is a great library to be found in Derelion. I thought perhaps it would hold those answers. While it indeed held some answers they were not about the corruption. What I learned led me to make some accurate deductions about some of what was being withheld. But I failed to make one last connection. For I thought it was the secrecy of elves the caused Prince Lachion to fail to provide the useful information and not his black cold-blooded treacherous heart. This is what I learned in the library and what I deduced from it.

The heartwood trees can live forever and keep their power providing they have two things.

1. A bond mate. A bond mate provides a link between and for the heartwood tree with its powerful protection and the elves that goes both ways.
2. An elven family surrounds each heartwood tree and a “city” will grow up around it.

When the heartwood tree does not have these things its power declines over time. I thought that this might be the reason that the shadow planes incursions were so profound in the Dimwood. I thought that we shouldn’t only go to the area of the king’s tomb to recharge the heartwood pieces but perhaps we should find out if this particular heartwood tree needed a bond mate and an elven family. I wanted to learn if there was such a person who could and would volunteer to perform this bonding so we could bring them to the tree during our visit to it. Aurora suggested that she might know a likely candidate. I didn’t press her on who she suspected as I believed we were both thinking that Darlon Lea was a candidate and he was accompanying us. I was not satisfied with these suspicions. I wanted to know who could be a candidate. First so that we brought the right person and second so that my focus would be to keep the candidate protected above all else. I first thought to return to Prince Lachion and press him for this information. However, I though it might be easier to convince Darlon Lea to be more forthcoming then the elf. Darlon Lea while a rival of Prince Lachion was also his right-hand man who commanded the elven army after all. So in an direct and forthright manner I told him what I knew, what I surmised and why I wanted to know this information in hopes he would confirm it or give me the detail that I was lacking. I could tell that he was alarmed at what I said and could see I was on the right track. But while I think he believed me, he had never met me and so he couldn’t fully trust me or my abilities. I did however learn that while Prince Lachion had told him to join us in our quest that Prince Lachion had not told him the purpose. I had Aurora tell him of our mission. If he had trusted us more and Prince Lachion less perhaps he would have provided the missing piece to my puzzle. Instead all he did was ask Aurora for the heartwood pieces and to wait until he returned. This got me to thinking. That the final secret that Prince Lachion and Darlon Lea was keeping was that another heartwood tree besides the one near the tomb (35-40 miles east) existed at Derelion and that Darlon Lea was its bond mate. But they didn’t want us to know this. I almost had it all correct. Aurora turned over the heartwood pieces to him and requested to accompany him. I spoke my theory that a heartwood tree was in Derelion and he was its bond mate. I could tell again that I surprised him and while he wouldn’t admit it aloud he told us we could all join him but we should wait at a distance. If only I had made the last connection or he trusted us enough to tell us there was no heartwood tree near the king’s tomb I would have realized that Prince Lachion had lied to the detriment of the elves interest and my compatriots both. That he was the one not to be trusted. We could have made other arrangements that might have been successful. Or if I had trusted my earlier instincts to protect the bond-mate above all else and so stayed near him instead of watching from a distance, perhaps I could have saved him. Instead we waited at a distance two full rounds away as he approached the heartwood tree. We could see that the heartwood tree was not fully healthy. It had some dead branches and dead patches. It appeared to have some disease that it could not completely fight off. Perhaps it is the whispered ones corruption. In any case it opened for him and he pressed one of the failed heartwood pieces to it. The piece was infused with power from the living heartwood. One piece down and three to go. But before he could do another, Prince Lachion appeared and attacked him. Prince Lachion took Darlon down by surprise in one round before he could respond. I rushed forward taunting him, trying draw him away to prevent him from killing the bond-mate. He looked very intimidated and I though we stood a chance. Then Aurora healed Darlon Lea. He was still wounded but up and alive. This bolstered my confidence even further. Darlon Lea survived then Prince Lachion’s wife appeared behind Darlon Lea. She attacked him and Prince Lachion attacked him. Darlon went down again and Prince Lachion moved away from him. Aurora healed Darlon again and he was back up. Xilvyre used her magic on Lachion’s wife. I used all my move to reach Prince Lachion but was unable to attack. Prince Lachion threw a dagger with a crystal in its pommel. This time Darlon went down for the last time. Darlon’s soul traveled into the crystal on the dagger. Lachion’s wife took the dagger and brought it in reach of her husband and myself. Xilvyre with her magic had blooded Lachion’s wife. I had a choice to make. I could try to kill Lachion’s wife but I was afraid she might have a contingency that would allow her to escape with Darlon’s soul in the dagger if I simply attacked her. I thought if I could retrieve the dagger and protect the crystal that perhaps we could get Darlon’s soul back into his body. Then I could attack and end this. I grappled with Lachion’s wife and wrested the dagger away from her. I used my last attack to bring her down. Before I could do anything further Prince Lachion told us his intent. He was going to become the ruler of shadow and fire. With Darlon Leah’s soul and at first I thought Aurora’s soul as well he would accomplish this. However, it was Aurora’s mother Ariel that he was really after. Prince Lachion, using the “Spear of the Dim Forest Lord” which is made from a piece of the heartwood, commanded the heartwood tree to attack us. The heartwood tree struck me and Aurora unconscious. Prince Lachion took the soul gem with Darlon’s soul and swallowed it. He then placed another soul gem into the cold-iron dagger’s socket and moved towards Aurora. Uaithne gave me a healing potion and Xilvyre did the same for Aurora, reviving us. Then Ariel, somehow sensing that Aurora was at death’s door, arrived in a rage and attacked Prince Lachion. It was Ariel that Prince Lachion wanted. For if he simply killed Ariel, her Divine spark would enter him making him immortal. And if he did it by trapping her soul in the soul gem and he swallowed it, then he would gain Ariel’s powers that she has since she is also “Destruction”, one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. Ariel was brought down by Prince Lachion but not killed. I was able to disarm Prince Lachion of the dagger with the empty soul gem and handed it over to Aurora. In doing so I took fire damage from the heat radiating from Lachion. At the time I thought that she could make her escape preventing Prince Lachion from gaining Ariels’ powers. I only realized later that would only stop him from gaining Ariel’s Destruction powers and not the more important divine spark which would transfer to him if he killed her. We quickly hatched a plan. Aurora now had the dagger. She moved close to Xilvyre and dropped it In order for Uaithne to use shatter on the empty soul gem. Shatter only works if it is not being held or worn. If shatter failed to destroy it then Xilvyre could pick up the soul gem and use dimension door, taking the soul gem and Aurora away. Uaithne’s shatter worked and the soul gem was destroyed. Xilvyre used dimension door to move Aurora and the cold iron dagger away as cold iron could still further injure Ariel. Prince Lachion was in a rage as we were messing with his plans. My last thought as I went unconscious was that there was still a chance for my compatriots. And then all went black as Prince Lachion’s aura of fire took me out. I learned later what transpired after. Prince Lachion had the heartwood tree attack my compatriots that were still up. The Heartwood tree was about the size of the city of Derelion but it did less damage once one was out of range of its trunk. Xilvyre was knocked unconscious. Aurora realized that her mother could be killed by magic and didn’t want her divinity going to Lachion. She called on Uaithne to end her mother’s life first. Uaithne complied using three magic missiles to kill Ariel’s body. Ariel’s divine spark traveled from Ariel’s body to Uaithne. Prince Lachion was apoplectic at being stymied yet again and moved to Uaithne. Uaithne unconscious was about to die at Lachion’s hands. To prevent this Aurora killed Uaithne at a distance and Ariel’s divine spark traveled to Aurora. Aurora was able to turn invisible and escape Lachion’s clutches. How Aurora’s fortitude was strong enough to order her mother’s demise and then to do the same in turn for Uaithne I cannot fathom. In the same circumstance I don’t believe I could have done it.The carnage around me affects me still.

I eventually roused from unconsciousness in time to see Lachion change form into a Balrog. Those of us fallen or incapacitated on the field of battle were no longer of consequence to him. We did not have what he seeks and were beneath his notice or interest. I gathered up my fallen comrades. Father Lind was alive, Darielle was alive but incapacitated. Xilvyre dead of her wounds. Darlon Lea dead and his soul lost. Ariel dead. Uaithne dead. Along with the crew of the “River Dream” we sailed back out of the Dimwood, picking up Aurora along the way.
My failure haunts me. But I vow on my ancestors, on my fallen compatriots and on those yet living that I will see Prince Lachion the Balrog meet his end.
For now I must think of the here and now. I will report to my superior, Wildly Incinerating Grey Wolf Dispatcher Mazer Raxxam, what has transpired here.
The other elves under Prince Lachion the Balrog have no blame in this matter. They are under an affect that prevents them from responding to the acts that he has committed. Those affects preclude them from being used by Lachion as an army. And once free of those affects I have no doubt that they will turn on him. For many of the elves witnessed Lachion’s treachery and murder of their beloved Darlon Lea. What they will think of our small group I do not know. We tried but failed. All of the hobgoblins who entered the Dim are not dead. For as we left we saw them at Derelion. How Prince Lachion the Balrog will be able to make use of them should he decide to march out of the Dim and if he brings back an army from the elemental plane of fire his threat will only grow. I don’t know how yet, but I will see him undone before the end of things.

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Freeing Newbridge

I finally got back to rescue Newbridge from the grey wasting disease. Unfortunately we could have saved the country if we had done so earlier, but I get ahead of myself.

The Knights of the Watch had sent a patrol to Newbridge and not come back. Scouts had reported the group staying at the manor house and barracks in town. So the Knights had asked a group of us to go into town to find out why no one reports back from Newbridge. A platoon led by Knight Captain Watcher Almrak Matoni would be waiting to go in based on what and if we reported.

As we approached Newbridge, we noticed that someone had planted seedlings from the Dim to shade the town. This after I had tried to clear the trees near town to keep the shadows at bay. We also noticed a group of ravens attacking three animated skeletons near town. We were not sure which group to help, so we just proceeded to town.

We found the Knight Commander and 8 vigils staying at the manor house. Astra used her helm of telepathy to read their thoughts. They were thinking they needed to get potions from Grandmother Twitch Willow to take care of us. Dasut and I remembered that when people would get sick, the priest in town would take the sick to three old women down the logging road outside of town. The sick would return with the grey wasting disease, which now seems to be affecting most of the town.

We also saw many ravens around town. When Astra read their thoughts they were thinking “Danger”. One raven even gave Raylinn a strange apple which looked like it had a face. The apple was thinking “Flee”.

We followed the ravens down the logging road to a strange hut. The hut was sitting on roots which seemed to be legs. An old woman came out of the hut and offered to sell us potions. When we questioned her, she admitted to “curing” the town of Newbridge and offered to cure us as well. As we were talking, another woman came up the path, climbed a root and entered the hut. A third woman soon followed.

Raylinn sent Ageas to investigate the hut. He found an obsidian mirror in the corner of the hut. The women were brewing potions in the middle of the hut. We decided to enter the hut, but the hags blocked the door so only Raylinn could enter. Dasut watched through the back window as they called forth a shadow version of Raylinn from the mirror. The two Raylinns wrestled and the shadow version thrust Raylinn into the mirror. The hags then gave him a potion and he appeared less grey. Dasut warned us that this was not the real Raylinn. My obsidian mirror had followed me, so we could use it. We then got the shadow Raylinn to touch my mirror and our Raylinn was then facing the mirror.

Raylinn had seen Rhys in the mirror dimension trying to get out. Then Dasut looked in my mirror and saw Rhys pounding on the mirror to get out. We waited until the Rhys with us should be asleep and tried to touch the mirror to him. He was awake and resisted, but we managed to get the mirror to touch Rhys. The mirror duplicate vanished and our Rhys was back. We had to fill him in on being Brenin and loosing the country. He had been in the mirror dimension since early in 618 when Jagr had acquired a mirror. If we had but rescued him sooner, we could have spared the country from the decisions the mirror duplicate made about devils and demons and Llewelyn.

We then surmised that the hags had used the mirror to replace the people of Newbridge and the knight patrol. We went back to the manor house, meeting the townfolk on the way. We found a guard remaining at the manor and tried to change him back. It did not work and we noticed that he did not have a reflection in the mirror. Either the prime material version had wandered away or been killed when the shadow version came out. During the struggle I inadvertently triggered the mirror and got True Seeing. The apple was actually a little boy.

While we were waiting for the knights and townfolk to return, we used Dispel Magic to turn about a dozen apples and ravens back into townfolk. Then Raylinn waited in the chambers being used by the Knight Captain while the rest of us waited in my room. The Knight Captain had a reflection, so Raylinn was able to change him back. Some of the knights and townfolk could be changed back and some could not, depending on what had happened to the prime material version.

We went back to confront the hags, but they and their hut were gone. We sent the patrol back to report to Knight Captain Watcher Almrak Matoni. We then spent the next several weeks recovering people from the ravens and apples in town or from the mirror.

I will be spending some time in Newbridge attempting to rebuild. I will be here at least until the end of the year. The guilt may never leave me. I could have prevented so much suffering if I had acted sooner. The problems of Gyruff seemed so much more important, but saving Newbridge would have solved many of the problems of Gyruff as well.

It is tempting to use the mirror, but it is dangerous and can easily be misused. The mirror, of which I have one facet, is the mirror of the chained god and thus can not be trusted. The hags can control the mirror somewhat and use it for their ill purposed, but they do not care if they harm others. I must resist.

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Super Sleuth Extraordinaire

(Oct 13) Super Sleuth Extraordinaire

So apparently some people have known about an epidemic in NewBridge for a while. The person in charge of the town, Gelwyn, is just now gathering some heroes up to discover the source and find a remedy. Of course I was chosen to be in the elite party.

Travel to NewBridge was uneventful. It was nice to see that some new trees are being planted around the town. We spotted some birds and scarecrows going at it, the scarecrows looked like ones that Queen Aisling had around her domain, and I was not eager to get into a situation that would draw Her attention so we skirted around that situation.

Getting into town, everyone and everything just looked . . blah. We went to check in on Gelwyn’s manor house to find information on the missing Knights that were sent to recruit from town. And there they were, hanging out in the house like nothing is wrong. Dentrak is apparently able to read thoughts and had found out that whatever was making everything here so bland had something to do with a Mother Riverwart and Grandmother Twitchwillow, whoever they are. As we went through town, Benton dumped a flask of water on his arm and made it a point to greet the acolytes of the temple with a handshake. He said he was checking for vampires, I’m not really sure what a wet arm has to do with vampires.

I figured that there was something suspicious about the ravens around the town and that they were trying to tell us something. I totally figured it out myself, and didn’t rely on Dentrak reading their minds at all.

Following the crows, we trekked deep into the woods to a small cottage on a withered stump with a lone occupant. As we sat outside the cottage, another woman walked to the cottage and went in, then a third arrived at the strange house. Some time later, one of them came back to the door and invited us in (apparently the big oaf in plate armor gave us away). As everyone else was too afraid to even approach the ladies in the creepy cottage, it fell to me to step up. I went to the cottage to find what the potion was that they had been giving to the townsfolk, and found myself facing . . . myself. A double of me stepped out of a mirror in the cottage, caught me off-guard and pushed me INTO the mirror where I nearly fell over Rhys. We were stuck inside a maze made completely out of mirrors where we could see out to all kinds of places. Rys said that he was stuck here for about a year and a half and he showed me to another mirror where we could see Gelwyn and the others outside the cottage. I started waving my arms trying to get their attention. Rhys started laughing and told me not to bother, they never look, he had been trying for about a year and a half. I had to test this with a series of rude gestures . . . Nope, they really never look. At least they were aware enough to suspect the other me. I was able to watch a few of my companions huddle together and then distract the imposter as the mirror and I were inched closer until I was out in the real world again. Once I was freed, I took the first chance I had to tell the others that Rhys was in the mirror too, and had been in there for the last year and a half. Turns out that it was not Rhys that nearly turned Gyruff into a new layer of the abyss, but an imposter! (Who would have thought.) We travelled away from the cottage and set up a quick camp before returning to Newbridge and all the shadow duplicates that had replaced the townsfolk. Once it was assumed that “Rhys” was asleep, we tried to get him to touch the mirror to restore the true Rhys. It turned out that Shadow Rhys was only faking and thwarted our first attempt, but we were able to eventually wrestle him to the mirror and bring back the true Rhys.

Returning to town, we hatched a brilliant plan where I would hide in wait in the room that the Knight Captain was using and pushed the mirror into him as he entered, restoring the true Captain. With the Knight Captain returned, he was able to call the other knights individually to his chambers and we set about releasing the others from their mirror prison, banishing the shadow duplicates. Those magically inclined, were able to dispel the curses that had transformed the villagers into ravens and fruits and the restoration of Newbridge was well on its way thanks to my brave investigation and strength to put aside my own safety for the good of others.

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What a long strange trip it’s been…

Journal of Dandelion the Bard:

What a long strange trip it’s been…
(with apologies to the Grateful Dead)

It was wonderful to see my buddy Mazer again (and his wife Talia)! It had been since the wedding and they were now a typical married couple (so disappointing…).

We had a mission to go find the “Lady Goldencrown”; the airship that was owned by Arglweth Alvestar and used for trade runs around the Sheldomar Valley.

Our mission was to travel to meet Alvestar who would lend us a boat and crew. Our goal was to travel downriver (through part of the Rushmoors), find the Lady Goldencrown, and dredge up the remains from the bottom of the river.

I was also very interested in some of the details of the craft; measurements, propulsion, steering, etc.

We met Alvestar as well as the town’s Brehyr, Torn ap Tomm Longtongue and his mother Janelle. It was brief, but pleasant and Alvestar arranged for our transport (ship).

The Rushmoors held true to the reputation of being very dangerous.

Just as dusk was hitting, we noted two threats. We were just shy of Pelyth’s Cove and we noted a large, dark shape under the water moving toward us. From the other direction a ship was approaching on an intercept path.

We made a course change and both responded; indicating they were both chasing us.

Further reconnaissance indicated the dark shape under the water was the Dragon Turtle and the ship was the Illustrious (a ship previously lost).

We made the decision to turn toward the Dragon Turtle to see if we could deal with one threat at a time. We managed to open a parley with the Dragon Turtle (whose name it turns out is Bronze Flume) who indicated he hated humans because previously the “Brenin” had promised him 500 gp/month. Mazer performed some rather excellent negotiations and convinced Bronze Flume to not eat us. We gave him the pair of bison (Bucal) that we had on board for that specific reason and Talia and Mazer offered up some gold pieces that the Dragon Turtle happily devoured as well.

Sated, Bronze Flume happily allowed us to pass and we headed back downstream (toward the Illustrious).

It appeared the Illustrious thought that we had not seen them, and we noted that the crew were all strange mutated fish-men (as seen before). We allowed them to approach to within Fireball range and let loose.

Mazer’s fireball decimated the enemies on the back of the ship (except for the two leaders) and my fireball took care of several on the front. Efforts from the rest of the group and the sailors on our ship finished everyone except the enemy captain. He decided not to fight to the end and dove into the water.

Our victory was short-lived, as moments later an Aboleth started compelling people to dive into the water. We lost our captain and the master of the ship but then it seemed to back off.

We towed the Illustrious to Pelyth’s Cove and handed it off to Alvestar’s personnel. We stayed the night and rested, but were up early to continue our journey.

The trip to Aberglain was uneventful and we decided to stay for a bit of rest there. Emyr was not home (we were hoping to party with him) but I did find a Gnome engineer who had some interesting information on the Lady Goldencrown and a potential invention to help a similar craft stay aloft. Mazer and I talked to him for a bit and negotiated for some information and such.

Then it was off down the river trying to find where the Lady Goldencrown had gone down.

We finally found the area and stopped the ship on the shore.

Upon arrival, Talia had a surprise for us; the mission was not really to find and recover the Lady Goldencrown, but to recover the nameplate that had something “special” about it. Apparently in the past, lots of people were looking for it, but it was never recovered.

We first searched the piles of stones where the Gnomes were buried. These had been disturbed, but a significant time had passed since this.

As the crew (not aware of the actual mission) prepared to start bring up the wreckage we detected a magical aura about 25’ south of the burial area. Curious we dug it up and there, indeed, was the nameplate. A weathered brass plate attached to the rotted piece of wood; “Lady Goldencrown”.

We talked about what to do with it for a bit, and honestly, I considered just taking it because…well it clearly was important. I don’t trust the marchers and giving it to them seems like a bad idea. We had already found out that there are duplicates of some of their leaders running around so they have been infiltrated as have several other important places as we will soon find out.

Though I suspected it all along, someone finally peeled off the name plate and there was a large rolled up piece of cloth hidden behind the name plate.

This turned out (not surprisingly to me) to be a Portable Hole (like the one I gave up to a Fey Queen to get rid of the Blackscour Taint).

Inside where many objects. I’m not going to go into all of the details, because whomever is reading this may not really need to know. Yeah, you who is reading – mind your own damn business (unless you are on my side…but then you probably already know what was there).

We did find eight mugs that keep drinks cold, and four chamber pots that teleport their contents to somewhere else. Of course also the pen that writes whatever is said within about 30’ of it – both helpful and potentially incriminating for some (using it to write this now during the trip home).

There were several other things including some trade goods (apparently stolen or smuggled from the Hold of the Sea Princes), some eggs (long since spoiled; griffon, hippogriff, etc.), and clearly stolen gold/silver items, and an Iron Flask (that will become important later).

One of the objects was a painting that showed a hallway with a door, and a very intricate rug on the floor.

We seemed to recognize the scene but very vaguely.
((OOC: As if it wasn’t this set of characters that had been there…))

As others were looking at various odds-and-ends from the portable hole, Dandelion looked at the paining in more detail.

That’s when everyone and everything within 30’ (except the portable hole itself) were transported into the painting.
Essentially everyone except Mazer, Talia, and Aurora.

With some thought and knowledge of history (apparently my cousin who was with us payed very close attention during school) we determined that this was the extra-dimensional lab from under the old castle in Gorna! It had been blasted into the Astral plane, but apparently there was a back-door way to get to it, and that was the painting.

So our main problem was now…how do we get out?

We figured out the code to get in (without getting blown up), and how to have the golems allow us to get into all of the rooms.

We searched around, finding little but did run into the resident elementals; fire in the forge, air in the library, earth in a study, and water in the fountain.

Air let us know that water might know a way out and gave us a book to help.

Water showed us where the mirror was to get out.

But it wasn’t just that easy. We had Gelwyn study the ritual carefully while we prepared things. There was a high probability of problems if we didn’t do everything correctly.

Meanwhile, Ivan had figured that the Iron Flask might contain some booze, so opened it up.

Turns out it actually was a prison for Lord Holphin Neheli!!!
He’s not the nicest guy in the world, but is really more out for himself.
He told an interesting story.
He had been questing for one of three items that were rumored to be the downfall of the Lion Throne (Keoland). He managed to find one of the legendary weapons and bring it to Kimbertos. But when he presented it to the king, apparently it took him over and next thing he knew, he was standing over the dead body of Kimbertos with the weapon in his hand.

You’ll note that I’m not divulging just what weapon this is. Good – again if you are on my side ask me in person or other secure method.

So Holphin is whisked away by the head mages. One of whom betrays and kills the others, then puts Holphin in the Iron Flask.

Unknown to this wizard, Holphin can still detect some of what is going on outside the flask. The betrayer wizard (Kelestan) meets with Jessa (daughter of Kimbertos and current Regent of Keoland) and talked about “Atzuzu (an Olmen chief of some sort?). Hannah Linth was also involved in some of these discussions.

The weapon itself was sent off somewhere unknown but if it could be retrieved, it is possible that Kimbertos’ soul could be extracted and brought back to life.

I’m not sure Holphin is being completely honest with us, but he was likely a sacrificial pawn in this entire game.

Eventually Gelwhyn managed to learn the ritual and with all of us linking hands we managed to escape back to where we were before.

The only question now is what do we give to and tell the Gran March leaders about all of this. Their leadership is clearly compromised and they cannot be trusted.

I’m not even sure I fully trust those sending me certain messages but I must hope that the infiltration has not gotten that far. For if it has, then truly all is lost.

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Bothan's new Title
How Bothan got his land beast name

Well you see the story between me and that boar was a bit strange. Perhaps even a bit magical.
It starts with me being left blindfolded far from civilization.

There must have been something in that dense smoke or incense used during the ceremony for I felt quite drowsy and fell asleep while I waited for the prescribed time period. It had a sickly sweet smell that seemed to permeate everywhere. I can still smell it in my mind.
When I came too I heard a snuffling sound. My head was still reeling a bit and I thought at first I was dreaming. For removing the blindfold, there pulling and poking at my cloak <shows> was the largest boar I have ever encountered. It was longer then I am tall. But more surprising was that it could almost match my girth.
As I said I thought I was still dreaming when it bit me in the ankle <shows> and started to drag me off to Ehlonna knows where. That bite roused me fully. The affront of the porcine in damaging my cloak is not something to be tolerated by any honorable knight. So I sat up as it continued dragging me and with a mighty punch to its jaw I got it to release me.
It shook its head, squealed and gave me an evil look before it trotted away. I was up in a flash. I chased the fleet four footed behmoth over hill and dale through stream and thicket. I was surprised at its speed for everyone know us dwarves are natural born sprinters. After some hours an eerie mist fell and clinged low to the ground. It made it impossible to see the tracks to follow it nor to view it in the distance. However, my keen hearing … Ok … well that is not really the case as anyone knows me … my hearing is average at best … Ever since that maiden and the bull horn … Any how the boar made such a racket I was able to follow it by sound alone. Eventually I broke through into a glade in the forest. The glade was quite supernatural. I swear on my grandmother’s beard I was no longer anywhere to be found on Oerth. There was no fog in the glade. And it was fenced it by an impassable wall of ironwood trees. The colors were all sharper. The greens greener, The flowers of every imaginable hue. I had never been there before but somehow I knew I was in the land of Elysium.
I felt at peace … But then the boar finding no way out of the glade turned … glared at me … and pawed the ground … As anyone knows it is best to use a ranged weapon or a reached weapon against those porkers. But such weapons did not feel proper for the battle to come. I chose instead my might pick. With a battle yell <”for> I charged the boar. At the same time with a low grumbling grunt the boar charged me. I was surprised when my first attack that expected to pierce its skull in one overwhelming swing merely glanced off. I was able to parry most of its attacks. And my armor protected me from those few that got through My attacks seemed to have much less affect then I would expect. But eventually the damage I did took its toll. The beast, toppled, exhausted. It looked up to me. I could tell it was ready for the end. To make a clean killing blow I drew my battle axe. Raising my trusty axe in both hands high above my head I brought it down on my worthy foe separating its head from its body except for a small flap of skin <shows>.
Eventually, I found passage through the ironwood which returned me to the mist lands. After some time further I reached the border of the mist and could tell I had returned to Oerth. I eventually found my way out of the wilderness and back to camp.

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